Achieving the Dream
On June 5, 2018, Jimmy Rodriquez’s entire life changed in just a few minutes. It was the day the U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) raided the business he worked for in Castalia, Ohio.
Rodriguez and his father, Eliseo, were part of the raid that found 114 undocumented workers. He was born in Mexico. He and his family came to the United States when he was two years old. Rodriquez has his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) permit. However, his father was listed as one of the undocumented workers. That was the moment; Rodriquez became the sole provider for his mother, Beatriz, and his two younger brothers.
“At the moment, my whole life was destroyed. I was heartbroken,” Rodriquez sadly explains.
He had graduated from Willard High School only two days before the raid. He planned to study mechanical engineering at North Central State College. However, the money he had set aside for college was now needed to help take care of his family to survive.
“I had planned on going to NC State. I was working a lot of hours, and with that money, I was going to be able to pay for at least a year, maybe two of college. After this happened, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to further my education,” he says.
When Steve Cummins, vice president of Mansfield Engineering Components, heard Rodriquez’s story he knew he wanted to help. Rodriquez was offered an apprentice-like position at the company. For Jimmy this was the opportunity he needed, “I’m excited to learn from the engineers about design and the mechanical side of it too.”
In addition to the job opportunity, an anonymous benefactor stepped up to pay for Rodriguez’s tuition at North Central State College.
“This means the world to me,” Rodriquez says. “I felt like there was no hope, but I had to keep pushing. Now with this opportunity, I will keep going.”
He will work fulltime at Mansfield Engineering Components while attending classes to get his associate degree in mechanical engineering, eventually earning his bachelor’s degree.
With the help and support of his family and the community, Rodriquez will now be able to achieve his dream.